Friday, August 19, 2016

United States v. Harmon, No. 15-10034 (8-18-16)(Owen w/ Wallace & Nelson). A bad Mechanik controls this affirmance of money laundering convictions. Here, before the grand jury, the prosecutor's witness lied about receiving benefits for his testimony (charges would not be brought).  He was not corrected.  The grand jury indicted, and the defendant was convicted by a trial jury.  On appeal, the defendant argued that the misconduct before the grand jury was a due process structural defect and required reversal. The 9th said "no".  The 9th relied on United States v. Mechanik, 475 US 66 (1986), where the Supremes excuse all sorts of grand jury mischief and misconduct if the trial jury convicted.  This includes intentionally offering testimony known to be false. So it is assumed here. The 9th agrees that the prosecutor should have corrected the testimony and engaged in misconduct. However, the appropriate forum would be the state bar or the Office of Professional Conduct.

The 9th also held that no misconduct occurred when impeachment evidence was presented to the court for disclosure, but not given to the defendant for cross. The 9th found the evidence strong and that the witness had been adequately impeached with other evidence.

The decision is here:


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